“Imitation is easy, anyone can copy something, it doesn’t mean they can solve a customer’s problems. Being the real deal is tough, but it’s what sets those leaders apart. They are the people customers will listen to. They understand what the customer needs to do, providing a clear path to solving the problem. Over the long term, the success of these people and organizations far outshines all the imitators or copy-ers” Partners in Excellence
Customers really need more than imitators. They need innovators, they need leaders. Customers need suppliers who can help them look at their businesses differently. Sales people who can help them see new opportunities to grow or better achieve their objectives. Customers want sales professionals who will work with them solving tough problems, they don’t want someone who can just follow or just copy.”
Modelling is something I learned about in psychology. It’s very real and if you’ve ever had children, you know it happens and it works! Mirroring, modelling, mentoring – copies of something but with different outcomes and features.
I know some people think I copied services in business, but what I have done is I continued and developed/tacked my sails as necessary, whilst maintaining consistency when short notice hit me and could have blown me of course – but I didn’t want to offer just a stop/start process that customers just hate, that keeps them off balance and doesn’t eventually meet their need.
I hate that don’t you? People can watch and adapt, people look to see what works for them and with time, decide for themselves if something might work or not. I am OK to recognise my boundaries and limitations. I tried, I tested, and I learned. I didn’t copy, I developed my service provisions! I am a leader. I model, yes – it’s how children learn, how new businesses learn and grow, how students follow a favourite teacher and want to be like them. We are encouraged to find people to ‘model’ ourselves on. That isn’t to say blatant copying feature for feature, benefit for benefit or the same walk, clothes or car! Modelling can also lead to bad behaviours being modelled too – children from difficult backgrounds only see one way and so model it (see the Bobo doll below); business too maybe, or cult following and friendship groups. Habits form that way, education limits this way sometimes. A copy is still a copy whether a Rolex look alike, it isn’t the ‘real deal’ and we all know it.
But if you find the right mentors, the right ‘models’ to learn from (note, not copy) then it can really work for you – for me! I modelled my business on two women I heard about – and ended up working with when I started! I learned from them, I tweaked my business, I learned about me and my values, and then tweak it some more as I develop it. I hope to be a ‘model’ business and maintain my integrity in being unique, individual and myself as part of the deal and that can’t be copied! You are you and you shouldn’t want to be a copy of anyone else, no matter how good. Respect yourself and what you have to offer. Learn and teach, grown and share, develop and support as you go.
This is what the quote: “Imitation is the best form of flattery” really means – imitation is ‘feeling your way’, imitation is ‘trying it out, see how it feels’ and it is then strategising for yourself and tweaking it to suit you – your ethics and values, your needs and beliefs, your strengths and your ideas. So before you do model something, make sure you know what you are modelling and why!
Make the modelling work for you, and maintain your core self!
Mentoring isn’t being the model, mentoring is supporting someone with advice and the benefit of experience and letting the mentee find their own, comfortable and fulfilling way ahead.
That is what coaching is all about!
See more: Albert Bandura’s Bobo doll experiment (video here)
Behaviour modelling – psychological theory